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Massimiliano Delferro

Chemist, Group Leader

Massimiliano Max” Delferro is a chemist and group leader of the Catalysis Science Program in the Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division at Argonne National Laboratory.


Max Delferro is a chemist and group leader of the Catalysis Science Program in the Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division at Argonne National Laboratory and a Senior Scientists in the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) at the University of Chicago. He is also the Argonne initiative leader for Transformative Manufacturing for a Circular Economy”.

His work focuses on the chemical recycling of plastics waste and the development of earth-abundant catalysts for hydrogen production and valorization of shale gas. He is the Deputy Director of the Institute for Cooperative Upcycling of Plastics” (iCOUP) and a principal investigator of the Catalyst Design for Decarbonization Center” (CD4DC), both Energy Frontier Research Centers funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). 

Max earned his doctorate in organometallic chemistry from the University of Parma, Italy in 2008. He is a member of the American Chemical Society and has served as the president and program chair of the Catalysis Club of Chicago since 2016.


  • Ph.D., organometallic chemistry, University of Parma, 2008
  • M.S., chemistry, University of Parma, 2005
  • BS, chemistry, University of Parma, 2003

Awards, Honors, and Memberships

  • R&D100 Award Finalist 2022, Plastic Upcycling
  • Argonne National Laboratory Board of Governors Award 2021
  • Argonne Impact Award for Innovation 2020
  • DOE Polymer Upcycling Roundtable 2019, observer
  • DOE Basic Research Needs in Catalysis 2017, observer
  • RSC ChemComm Emerging Investigator 2017
  • Omar Farha Award for Research Leadership (Northwestern University, 2014)
  • Member of the American Chemical Society
  • President and Program Chair, The Catalysis Club of Chicago
  • Scholars of Global School for Advanced Studies, National Science Foundation, Session on Catalysis and Materials for Hydrocarbon Conversions”, Doha, Qatar, January 6-8, 2013

Select Publications

1) Hackler, R. A.; Lamb, J. V.; Peczak, I. L.; Kennedy, R. M.; Kanbur, U.; LaPointe, A. M.; Poeppelmeier, K. R.; Sadow, A. D.; Delferro, M. Effect of Macro-and Microstructures on Catalytic Hydrogenolysis of Polyolefins. Macromolecules 2022, 55, 6801-6810.

2) Chapovetsky, A.; Kennedy, R. M.; Witzke, R.; Wegener, E. C.; Dogan, F.; Patel, P.; Ferrandon, M.; Niklas, J.; Poluektov, O. G.; Rui, N. Lithium-Ion Battery Materials as Tunable, Redox Non-Innocent” Catalyst Supports. ACS Catal. 2022, 12, 7233-7242.

3) Syed, Z. H.; Mian, M. R.; Patel, R.; Xie, H.; Pengmei, Z.; Chen, Z.; Son, F. A.; Goetjen, T. A.; Chapovetsky, A.; Fahy, K. M. Sulfated Zirconium Metal–Organic Frameworks as Well-Defined Supports for Enhancing Organometallic Catalysis. J.  Am. Chem. Soc. 2022.

4) Hackler, R. A.; Vyavhare, K.; Kennedy, R. M.; Celik, G.; Kanbur, U.; Griffin, P. J.; Sadow, A. D.; Zang, G.; Elgowainy, A.; Sun, P.; Poeppelmeier, K. R.; Erdemir, A.; Delferro, M. Synthetic Lubricants Derived from Plastic Waste and their Tribological Performance. ChemSusChem 2021, 14, 4181-4189.

5) Ferrandon, M. S.; Byron, C.; Çelik, G.; Zhang, Y.; Ni, C.; Sloppy, J.; McCormick, R. A.; Booksh, K.; Teplyakov, A. V.; Delferro, M. Grafted Nickel-Promoter Catalysts for Dry Reforming of Methane Identified through High-Throughput Experimentation. Appl. Catal., A 2021, 118379.

6) Hackler, R. A.; Pandharkar, R.; Ferrandon, M. S.; Kim, I. S.; Vermeulen, N. A.; Gallington, L. C.; Chapman, K. W.; Farha, O. K.; Cramer, C. J.; Sauer, J.; Gagliardi, L.; Martinson, A. B. F.; Delferro, M. Isomerization and Selective Hydrogenation of Propyne: Screening of Metal-Organic Frameworks Modified by Atomic Layer Deposition. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020, 142, 20380-20389.

7) Witzke, R. J.; Chapovetsky, A.; Conley, M. P.; Kaphan, D. M.; Delferro, M. Nontraditional Catalyst Supports in Surface Organometallic Chemistry. ACS Catal. 2020, 10, 11822-11840.

8) Chapovetsky, A.; Langeslay, R. R.; Celik, G.; Perras, F. A.; Pruski, M.; Ferrandon, M. S.; Wegener, E. C.; Kim, H.; Dogan, F.; Wen, J.; Khetrapal, N.; Sharma, P.; White, J.; Kropf, A. J.; Sattelberger, A. P.; Kaphan, D. M.; Delferro, M. Activation of Low-Valent, Multiply M-M Bonded Group VI Dimers toward Catalytic Olefin Metathesis via Surface Organometallic Chemistry. Organometallics 2020, 39, 1035-1045.

9) Celik, G.; Kennedy, R. M.; Hackler, R. A.; Ferrandon, M.; Tennakoon, A.; Patnaik, S.; LaPointe, A. M.; Ammal, S. C.; Heyden, A.; Perras, F. A.; Pruski, M.; Scott, S. L.; Poeppelmeier, K. R.; Sadow, A. D.; Delferro, M., Upcycling Single-Use Polyethylene into High-Quality Liquid Products. ACS Cent. Sci. 2019, 5, 1795–1803.

10) Syed, Z. H.; Kaphan, D. M.; Perras, F. A.; Pruski, M.; Ferrandon, M. S.; Wegener, E. C.; Celik, G.; Wen, J.; Liu, C.; Dogan, F.; Goldberg, K. I.; Delferro, M., Electrophilic Organoiridium(III) Pincer Complexes on Sulfated Zirconia for Hydrocarbon Activation and Functionalization. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 6325-6337.

11) Langeslay, R. R.; Kaphan, D. M.; Marshall, C. L.; Stair, P. C.; Sattelberger, A. P.; Delferro, M., Catalytic Applications of Vanadium: Mechanistic Perspective. Chem. Rev. 2019, 119, 2128-2191.

12) Zhang, X.; Huang, Z.; Ferrandon, M.; Yang, D.; Robison, L.; Li, P.; Wang, T. C.; Delferro, M.; Farha, O. K., Catalytic chemoselective functionalization of methane in a metal-organic framework. Nat. Catal. 2018, 1, 356-362.

13) Klet, R. C.; Kaphan, D. M.; Liu, C.; Yang, C.; Kropf, A. J.; Perras, F. A.; Pruski, M.; Hock, A. S.; Delferro, M., Evidence for Redox Mechanisms in Organometallic Chemisorption and Reactivity on Sulfated Metal Oxides. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140, 6308-6316.

14) Kaphan, D. M.; Klet, R. C.; Perras, F. A.; Pruski, M.; Yang, C.; Kropf, A. J.; Delferro, M., Surface Organometallic Chemistry of Supported Iridium(III) as a Probe for Organotransition Metal-Support Interactions in C-H Activation. ACS Catal. 2018, 8, 5363-5373.

15) Camacho-Bunquin, J.; Ferrandon, M.; Sohn, H.; Yang, D.; Liu, C.; Ignacio-de Leon, P. A.; Perras, F. A.; Pruski, M.; Stair, P. C.; Delferro, M., Chemoselective Hydrogenation with Supported Organoplatinum(IV) Catalyst on Zn(II)-Modified Silica. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140, 3940-3951.